The weird and wonderful world of apps


There are over 2 million combined apps on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play, and they can certainly range from practical to bizarre.

Clearly no one person can try them all, and let’s be honest, who would want to? When I first got a mobile phone that was able to use apps, I personally dove right in and spent many hours seeing what was on offer.

What is an app?

“App” is short for application and usually refers to mobile phones and tablets. (Although Apple Macs and Windows 8 Live Tiles also have interactive desktop apps.)

They are often relatively simple and quite small in size, which makes them perfect to quickly get your hands on them and give them a go, even only for a short while. As they are so easy to acquire (and often free), it is possible for millions of users to test out particular apps. The game Flappy Bird caught on like wild fire, due largely in part to both the frustration that it could cause (as enjoyable games often do) and word of mouth.

A lucrative business

With such high potential for foot traffic, comes high potential for profit. Some estimate that the creator of Flappy Bird may have been making up to $50,000 USD per day through ads on his app. It was also well advertised that the IPO (Initial Public Offering) of the development company behind the incredibly popular Candy Crush Saga was valued at $7.6 billion USD. With numbers like these, it is no surprise that many out there are looking to create the next big app.

The highs and lows of trying new apps

Of course with 2 million apps out there, not all are destined for greatness. There are however some interesting specimens out there.

Through my journeys, I stumbled upon an app that utilised my mobile phone’s magnetic compass to turn my phone into a metal detector. It would actually vibrate when placed close to metal objects such as keys.

Another interesting app could precisely detect the distance to particular walls by sending out a sound and listening for how long it took for the sound to echo back once again. The ability to use your phone as a level to measure the angle of a surface by looking at a computer generated bubble, also struck me as a rather nifty idea.

One of my favourites was definitely Shazam, which could listen to any song that was playing nearby and automatically search the internet to tell you the name and other details of that song.

While I haven’t tried this app, I have been told that the point of the Hang Time app is to throw your phone into the air while the app records exactly how long it is in mid-air for. The goal being to compete with others to see who can throw their phone the highest. You guessed it; it is basically a potentially expensive schoolyard pastime!

There are clearly apps out there that range from convenient, to nonsensical, and everywhere in-between. We would love to hear your thoughts and discoveries of what weird and wacky apps are out there. Please feel free to comment below.

Photo credit: Cristiano Betta


  1. Limited Apps says:

    Re your suggestion of the app ‘Shazam’: I’ve got one called ‘SoundHound’ which seems to be quite similar. If you haven’t tried it, I’d be curious to see how it compares for you to ‘Shazam’. If you have already done so,I’d value your comments.

    • Sue says:

      @Limited Apps,
      I use both apps with good results. When one app doesn’t find the song, I often usually find it on the other as I don’t have a mainstream taste in music.

  2. Simon says:

    Shazam is the Apple app whilst SoundHound is the Android equivalent. They are very similar in operation.